12 years of accomplishments all rolled into a single night of celebration. The ending of my grade school career and the beginning of creating a life of my own. For most people, it was full of relief and smiles as we were finally done. The tassel was moved from one side to the other and diplomas were received. It was finally over…
I had the same thoughts, but the week leading up to the ceremony I couldn’t help but wish my dad was there to see it all unfold. It was tough. Yet, I was determined to not let it ruin the happiness surrounding such a milestone. Throughout the ceremony, I was good, not a single tear, and thankfully no tripping as I was wearing heels and am extremely clumsy lol
I thought I had it in the bag, no issue. Then came the part where we could go give the roses we bought to the people who were there for us and encourage us the most. I went to my grandma Eva gave hers to her. From there I went to my second family, my boyfriend’s mom and stepmom. Then to my mom and Grandma Peen. Got my hugs and congratulations in from everyone and headed back to my seat.
Then all at once, the song “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts came on and it just hit me that I was still missing one hug. Tears started flowing instantaneously. As I tried not to fall down the stairs and make things worse I looked up as I got off them and looked my grandma in the eye. She was already a little teary-eyed from being the proudest great-grandma there. So when she saw me crying it didn’t take much for her to join me.
Since I was already in route I went over to her. She asked “what’s wrong” and I just sobbed one word…Dad. It all had built up to that point. My first big milestone without him. The first event where all the family is there and he isn’t there to watch…
I miss him so much and every day, but I’ve tried to find the balance of carrying his legacy on and creating my own. We do so many of the same things have the same mentality, it isn’t too hard most days, but that day was hard. I knew I couldn’t let it ruin my “big day” yet when I miss him I miss him. I cried a little and continued to enjoy the excitement of graduation.
This picture to me represents everything I’ve been through in the last almost 6 years. The smiles, the tears, the memories. It says to me that I am standing there strong even with tears in my eyes. That I made it this far and have come a long way. It all seemed impossible when my dad died. Yet, I beat the impossible.
This red, blotchy, teary-eyed face is a face of strength. I have withstood some of the worst years of my life. I’m proud of who I am today.
I always wish I could go back just one more time. Just hear his goofy laugh one more time. To feel my grandpa Don’s hug one more time. To see my grandma Rhonda’s face light up when she saw us. But yet, even knowing what I know now I wouldn’t change a thing. I went through a lot of pain and heartache, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Without it, I wouldn’t have found my strength.
It took a while but my life is on a great road right now. I made the choice to conquer and with God by my side and my dad’s hand on my shoulder I did that. I rose from the ashes. I stood strong in that gymnasium on June 1st at 7:00pm ready to face an accomplishment, my dad didn’t live to see, without him.
I cried yeah. Was it hard heck yeah. But that didn’t put a damper on the fact that I graduated. I didn’t let it anyway. I have risen from the ashes of my tragedies, but my journey is far from over. God’s not done with me yet. I can’t wait to see where he takes me.